Last night I was fortunate enough to attend a cocktail hour hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union, whose mission was to raise awareness in the law community about GLBT rights. The venue was the CitiCorp building, a staple of the NYC skyline: who knew that the 50th floor conference space holds one of the most treasured views in the city?
We were greeted with trays of champagne, which whet our appetites for the amazing food spreads to come. The goat cheese-and-fig-skewer wrapped in prosciutto was hands-down my favorite...until I walked into the adjacent room to find a raw bar yielding little clams, oysters and jumbo shrimp, that is! The full top-shelf bar was a nice touch too, I might add.
The speeches were inspiring as well. A woman identified as "Randy" informed the crowd of an Arkansas law that prevented gays and lesbians from adopting children whether or not they were of blood relation. Apparently the ACLU challenged the state in 1999 and it was just over two years ago that the state complied with civil rights and determined that according to the state court there is no evidence proving that being raised by a gay or lesbian would affect the child negatively. The next year, however, the state passed a bill stating that Arkansas does not have to comply and can still discriminate.
Randy's granddaughter then took the floor and shared her personal story, saying that her mother is chronically ill and this would prevent her lesbian grandmother (who raised her) from adopting her in the event of her mother's death. This, in turn, would tear her away from her family and throw her into the foster system. Moving.
The speeches concluded with the head of the board's, who encouraged the crowd to talk to friends and relatives in California, as the government is already presenting bills to undo the recent gay marriage acceptance.